Present


(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Triskaidekaphobie, 6.5/10
Le Poison Qui Rend Fou , 6/10
C.O.D. Performance , 5/10
Live , 6/10
Certitudes , 6/10
Barbaro ma Non Troppo (2009), 5.5/10
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After leaving Univers Zero, Belgian guitarist, keyboardist and composer Roger Trigaux formed Present with pianist Alain Rochette and with a rhythm section also borrowed from his old band (drummer Daniel Denis and bassist Christian Genet).

Triskaidekaphobie (1981 - Cuneiform, 2014), with Trigaux on robotic Robert Fripp-esque guitar, contains the 19-minute Promenade Au Fond D'Un Canal, that opens with a frantic Zappa overture but then indulges in cryptic industrial minimalism until a grotesque cabarett-ish piano motif leads to a threatening symphonic march; and the 15-minute Quatre-vingt Douze, with more frenzy but also a neurotic stop-and-go dynamic that turns minimalist repetition into self-mockery, as if Dada were performing a Michael Nyman score.

Le Poison Qui Rend Fou (1985 - Cuneiform, 2014) is mainly devoted to the 25-minute Le Poison Qui Rend Fou, that contains one of their most memorable motifs (four minutes into the piece) and one of their most comic detours (the beginning of the second part), Ersatz Samana

Trigaux reformed the project with his son Reginald for C.O.D. Performance (Lowlands, 1993).

Live (Cuneiform, 1996)

Roger Trigaux's nomadic existence has yielded a third version of Present, the band he formed after severing ties with Univers Zero. For the past few years he had been performing alone with his son Reginald, but now we find him fronting again a full-fledged band, which, besides Reginald, also includes American virtuoso drummer Dave Kerman (of U Totem and 5uu's). They offer only four tracks to re-estabilish themselves at the forefront of progressive-rock, but each one is long, complex and intricate. Rambling tunes are punctuated by erratic time signatures, heavy-metal guitar work alternates with Hendrix-like glissandos, rapid-fire group improvisation leads into defiant solos. Contre leans towards King Crimson's angular jazz-rock, Alone sinks into a slow psychedelic whisper, worthy of early Grateful Dead, the subdued, dissonant, and even gothic Laundry Blues weathers unspeakable tension. The tour de force is Promenade Au Fond D'Un Canal: twenty-two minutes of music which is alternatively spectral and threatening, cerebral and childish, cohesive and disjointed, tragic and comic. Ultimately, the real highlight of the album is the instrumental proficiency of the quartet.

What stands out in Certitudes (Cuneiform, 1998) is the virtuoso technique of the performers. That seems to be the main reason for the three lengthy suites to exist. Keyboardist Alain Rochette competes with the leader in displaying dexterity, but more enchanting might be the rhythms, often borrowed from Latin American folk. The weakest point, instead, is the singing. The main problem of Delusions, The Sense Of Life, and May Day is that their best moments are drowned in endless minutes of sterile counterpoint.

A Great Inhumane Adventure (Cuneiform, 2005) documents 1998 live performances.

Barbaro ma Non Troppo (ReR, 2009) contains the intense and aggressive 16-minute Vertiges and keyboardist Pierre Chevalier's ebullient A Last Drop. It also includes a 16-minute version of Univers Zero's Jack the Ripper (from Heresie). The CD comes with a three-hour DVD of Present's live performances from 2005 and 2007.

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